“We strive to empower our community to be inclusive, equitable and aware of mental, emotional and behavioral health needs in ourselves and others. We work to advocate for all to be courageous in their pursuit to be seen, heard and understood on their path to wellness.”
Our Equity Statement
The Mental Health Association of Central Florida (MHACF) understands that violence, racism, hate, and discrimination undermine mental wellness and are significant contributors to individual and community trauma. Therefore, we are committed to breaking cycles of multi-generational distress for marginalized communities in all that we do by pledging to work against racism, bias, prejudice and discrimination at individual, interpersonal, and institutional levels.
MHACF By the Numbers
Established in 1946, the Mental Health Association of Central Florida is the leading community-based nonprofit in Central Florida dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. With 1 in 5 adults having a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year (with half of those developing conditions by the age of 14) the Association’s work of promoting mental wellness and equity of access to mental health care is rooted in providing mental health services, support and information to the members of the Central Florida community.
- In 1946, The Mental Health Association of Central Florida (MHACF) was established as the Central Florida Mental Hygiene Society and after nearly a decade was renamed as the Mental Health Association of Orange County, Inc. before settling its official name change as MHACF in the late 1980’s.
- In 2003, MHACF identified a community need for its Guardian Advocate program based on a work with local behavioral hospitals. The Guardian Advocate program trains individuals to serve as temporary surrogate decision makers for involuntarily hospitalized clients, under the Florida Baker Act, who have no family members to act on their behalf. In 2020 nearly 500 individuals were represented by 184 trained advocates.
- In 2011, the Mental Health Association of Central Florida, in partnership with AdventHealth, opened the state’s first and only free mental health clinic. The Outlook Clinic provides direct psychiatric care for the uninsured. It is specifically designed for individuals diagnosed with depression or anxiety and offers psychotropic medication management. In 2020, the clinic assisted nearly 900 uninsured patients of which 38% were employed.
- In 2014, MHACF kicked off its Reflections Peer Recovery program with assistance from the Orange County Government to provide support resources, groups and trainings.
- In 2016, MHACF joined the One Orlando Alliance following the Pulse tragedy. One Orlando Alliance is a vital network of organizations supporting the LGBTQ+ community in Central Florida. By staying true to the fundamental values of inclusivity, respect, communication and collaboration that originally brought the Alliance together, they have committed to purposeful action to ensure our community thrives in the future. In response to the Pulse tragedy, the MHACF also expanded its Reflections Peer Support programs to offer counseling and support programs specially designed to assist the Pulse victims, families and community members. In 2020, the Mental Health Association of Central Florida transitioned its services to telehealth and virtual programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic and reported an increase in patient referrals and services due to the influx of mental health illness.
- In 2021, You Are A Lifeguard suicide prevention and awareness campaign is launched in response to the increasing number of suicide attempts, particularly in adolescents, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Community members are invited to take the pledge to become a Lifeguard at www.YOUAREALIFEGUARD.org to help those in need, whether it be themselves or a friend, loved one or community member. In 2021, MHACF launched its new website with assistance from the Orange County Government to provide multilingual services and resources to the Central Florida community and beyond.